3 Takeaways from the 2017 Future and A Hope Conference

I attended the Future and A Hope conference last Saturday in Austin, Texas. This is a conference that brings together those who advocate for vulnerable and at-risk children. Some who attend are just beginning to explore and discern what their role is.

Other families who attend are in the midst of parenting children that they foster or have adopted either through foster care, private domestic agencies, or international agencies.

One thing I noticed this year (this isn’t one of my takeaways) is that many attendees have at least a basic understanding what trauma informed care is. That speaks to the work of many in this field. Families, counselors, caseworkers, and others are now speaking the same language more than ever. This is a good thing.

Ready for some takeaways?

  1. God sees brokenness and leans into it. He responds. He doesn’t wait for us to clean ourselves up first. This is the essence of the gospel. When we do the same for a child from a “hard place” we reflect the gospel. If we consider ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, we should respond to the vulnerable like He does. (Jason Johnson)
  2. Don’t wait until you have lost your compassion. Amy Curtis, director of post adoption and counseling with Buckner, shared some thoughts for those who have foster, and especially, adopted children in their home. Sadly, many families end up disruption or dissolution. Disruption is when the adoption process is stopped after the child is placed in the adoptive home but before the adoption is finalized. Dissolution is when the adoption process is halted after the adoption is legally finalized. In a disruption, the adoptive family only has to tell the caseworker that they want the child removed. In a dissolution, the family has to go before a judge in order to make the dissolution legal. All I have to say is ouch. The comment made by Amy, “don’t wait until you have lost your compassion” was made in this context. She also listed the common path that leads to a disruption or dissolution.
  3. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. This is a quote from Victor Frankl who spent time in three different concentration camps during World War II. Dr. Chris Thurman taught a model I have heard him teach before, the A-B-C thinking model. I hadn’t listened to his teaching through the lens of a foster/adoptive parent. Quickly, A = the event; B = how we think about the event; C = our response to the event. Most of the time we think the model is A to C. We respond to an event and place the blame of our action on the event…not our thinking. I see how I do this as a parent. And, I see how my son does this as wounded child.

I heard and learned many other things, but these three cause me to ponder and evaluate. I want to be a person who responds to brokenness the way my Lord does. However, I know I have to have His Spirit; His heart in order to do so.

I don’t ever want to wait until I lose compassion for my son before I ask for help. To me adoption is a covenant relationship. I am committed to him and his welfare no matter how difficult it gets.

Dr. Thurman reminded me how important it is to continually renew my mind and how this impacts how I respond to every situation I find myself in.

Want me to expound on any of these three takeaways? Let me know and I will either do a blog post or podcast episode on what I get the most interest in. 

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

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2 thoughts on “3 Takeaways from the 2017 Future and A Hope Conference

  1. Ken,
    This conference material is vital to all of us in the trenches; for our families, and serving families with children who have come from hard places. If you wouldn’t mind, I really would appreciate you expanding your thoughts on all three of your takeaways from the conference please. I value your thoughts and insights you were impacted by from your time there. Thank you for sharing.